There are four valves in your heart which act like doors to control the blood flow between the different parts of the heart. Valve problems can occur due to congenital abnormalities (present at birth), or they can be acquired later in life as a result of infections and degeneration. The affected valves can be repaired or replaced through Heart Valve Surgery.
Valve repair consists of fixing as much as possible of the damaged valve without the use of artificial parts. If all efforts to repair the malfunctioning valve fail, your surgeon will replace the valve during the same procedure.
The valve can be replaced using artificial valves (made of plastic or metal), or bioprosthetic valves (made of biological material from animal tissue), or an allograft valve (human valve tissue).
During heart valve surgery, an incision down the middle of the chest is made and the breastbone is separated. Your surgeon will assess whether this procedure or a less invasive key-hole surgery (which allows the valve repair and replacement to be done through small incisions), is more suitable for you.